Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Watch out for "nonpartisans"

One of the Web sites I regularly visit, Vote Out Incumbents Democracy (VOID), made a great point the other day about the misuse and abuse of the term "nonpartisan" by partisan interests. It's a timely reminder that "independent" and "nonpartisan" are not always interchangeable words. Here's an excerpt:

Strictly speaking, the term [nonpartisan] means not controlled or influenced by, or supporting, any single political party. But it is a loaded word, because it carries with it the following synonyms' meanings as well: unprejudiced, just, nonaligned, unbiased, independent, uninfluenced, unaffected, uninvolved, unimplicated, unbigoted, objective.

And very partisan interests and high priced lawyers and political advisers exploit the meanings of those synonyms in their usage of the word "non-partisan." It is a term that must be considered by a time reference. ...But non-partisan only has meaning in a time-framed context. One can be partisan in the 2006 elections and approach the 2008 elections in a non-partisan fashion, having learned something of the value of making choices by criteria other than political party name or affiliation.
The post goes on to describe how VOID is at times accused of being partisan because it advocates voting out "irresponsible, corrupt, or ineffective politicians," as they did in the 2006 midterms. I can relate; while I was glad that the GOP lost control of Congress that year, that in no way meant that I was a Democrat—although some people saw it that way. I'm an independent who leans neither Republican nor Democrat. And my pleasure at seeing the GOP get punished for Iraq and so much else is no reflection of my vote that year. For all anyone knows, since I keep my vote to myself, I may have voted for third-party candidates rather than Democrats. Or maybe I didn't vote at all. Only I know.

Like VOID, I cannot fathom why voters continue to re-elect incumbents who have done little or nothing to improve the lives of their constituents, have paid scant attention to voters' concerns, and are just as embroiled in scandalous, fraudulent behavior as those who got caught and made headlines. I'm not talking about all incumbents; I'm talking about those who have abused the power the voters gave them. You know who they are, in your own district, state and beyond.

Why do voters do this? Is it just easier? Are they so tied to their party that they want it to maintain power no matter what? What do you think?

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